Va-Va-Villainess: Rhonda Fleming

Published January 18, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Rhonda Inferno

She played feisty yet loyal lovers in a series of ‘50s action and adventure pieces like Yankee Pasha and Gunfight at O.K. Corral. Bob Hope also called upon her extravagant sense of humor in such projects as The Great Lover and Alias Jesse James. Her lush looks and rare beauty worked for her in other ways as well, giving the glorious Rhonda Fleming a delightfully tangible way to embody perfect visions of calculating evil.

InfernoLobbyEschewing her initial naivete – she and her mother had to look up what a nymphomaniac was when she was cast in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound – Fleming brought vivid life to a number of noir vixens. 1953’s Inferno capitalized on the 3D phase while also giving her the excuse to bring what was possibly her most evil character to the celluloid universe. As Geraldine Carson, this red headed goddess viciously plots to murder her husband, played with gruff humanity by eternally sympathetic tough guy Robert Ryan. Thus, her dry and dusty downfall here was relished by movie lovers everywhere.

rhonda-fleming-the-crowded-skyThe suave Efrem Zimbalist Jr. also was dealt a calculating blow when dealing with Fleming’s adulterous Cheryl Heath in The Crowded Sky. As a pilot facing a deadly incident, as this film is a precursor to the all star disaster films of the ‘70s, Zimbalist’s character also must deal with the emotional fallout of Cheryl’s heartless manipulations. Viewers, therefore, are not surprised when the film’s fadeout reveals his intents to leave her behind, no matter Fleming’s seemingly irresistible devious lusciousness.

Rhonda Gunfight


Horror Hall of Fame:


Besides her compelling work with Hitchcock in Spellbound, Fleming brought a steady heart and calm demeanor to her portrayal of the loyal yet doomed Blanche in 1946’s gothic horror The Spiral Staircase.

www.rhondafleming.com

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Kimberly Caldwell

Published March 29, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Kimberly Wrong Turn 2

“It’s dead out here and I’m hating you right now. What kind of agent are you?” – Kimberly, Wrong Turn 2

Parlaying her American Idol fame into acting work, the dynamic Kimberly Caldwell made a skin shedding impression in the fun horror sequel Wrong Turn 2. Despite going through multiple song changes and delayed releases, her first album Without Regret also highlighted her dramatic abilities. These skills are particularly evident in Mess Of You, one of the recording’s acclaimed singles.

Traveling down the right path at last…and utilizing her personality to its fullest, Caldwell has spent much of the last decade appearing on talk show panels and parenting her three children with style and panache.

https://www.kimberly-caldwell.com/

KImberly 2

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Lady Possessed (1952).

Published March 28, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Lady Poster

1952’s Lady Possessed featured the distinguished pairing of the elegant James Mason and the always dramatic June Havoc. As veteran performers with such credits as A Star Is Born and Gentleman’s Agreement between them, they naturally imbued the supernatural melodramatics of the story here with an air of earnest believability.

Lady Mash-UpAfter a traumatic miscarriage, Jean Wilson (Havoc) begins renting a country cottage, due to the insistent recommendation of her husband (Stephen Dunne), in order to recuperate. But rest is the last thing that occurs for our beleaguered heroine when the house’s former mistress begins to take over her personality. Jean is soon tracking down the dead woman’s husband (James Mason), a famous novelty pianist, and integrating herself into his life. A disastrous séance, moodily filmed by directors Roy Kellino and William Spier, a change in her hair color and bouts of sleepless, incredibly erratic behavior ultimately lead to a moodily gothic yet emotionally abrupt climax here.

Produced by Mason and based on a story-script by his wife Pamela, who also sharply enacts Havoc’s sassy best friend Sybil, this project is also notable for providing Havoc with the rare opportunity to play a lead in a film. Always memorable, she was often cast in the Sybil role in her projects, perfecting the art of playing the bright, smart talking companion to a variety of leading ladies including Alice Faye, Dorothy McGuire and Gene Tierney. Lady Seance

Interestingly, years later Mason and Havoc would also be connected through their appearances in two different projects based on Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Mason, of course, played the mysterious Straker in Tobe Hooper’s popular 1979 television adaptation of the book. Havoc, meanwhile, played the devoted yet bloodsucking Aunt Clara in Larry Cohen’s less successful A Return to Salem’s Lot in 1987.

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Review: The Knock

Published March 26, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Knock

There’s nothing quite like getting woken up from a deep sleep by an unexpectedly loud voice in your building’s hallway, right? Although, I imagine a soft scratch at your door followed by a bedraggled whisper of your name would be even worse. Embarking on a more intense version of that last scenario, writer-director Zach Lorkiewicz’s latest horror short The Knock almost seems to be presciently made for these late night, isolationist times.

As with many Count the Clock Productions, the visual and sonic elements of this piece are top notch. Here Lorciewicz’s glossily acute style finds its match in Terence Yoon’s coloring and cinematography, Nathan Baldonado’s moody lighting and Catharine Yang’s jump start the march score. Meanwhile, Lauren Elyse Buckley’s committed acting performance is sure to put all viewers in the head space of their own corner of the eye midnight frights.

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Joyce Sims

Published March 22, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Joyce Sims Main

With its Phantom of the Opera style opening, Joyce Sims’ Come Into My Life burned up the dance floors in the late ‘80s and seemed the perfect song to be featured in a horror film. A few years later the producers of Species did include the popular track in a significant scene with Natasha Henstridge’s deadly Sil.

Sims caressed the keyboards with such dance legends as Mantronix, who produced a number of her most popular tunes, and is still creating new music and performing at nostalgia fests. More information on her activity is available at https://www.joycesimsonline.com/.

NATASHA-MAIN-e1525755276992

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Va-Va-Villainess: Geraldine Fitzgerald

Published March 20, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Geraldine Fitzgerald Harry

Best known as Bette Davis’ sympathetic companion in the classic tearjerker Dark Victory, the supremely talented Geraldine Fitzgerald was also renowned to certain cinema goers for her humor filled appearances in such ‘80s comedies as Arthur and Easy Money. Nicely, for our purposes, she also brought a tart acidity to a duo of nasty ladies in successive films in 1940s’ gothic-noir cinema.

Not surprisingly, her Crystal Shackleford in Three Strangers (1946) was a deceptively strong counterpoint to the desperately manipulative Jerome Arbutny (the always masterful Sydney Greenstreet) and the drunkenly con minded Johnny West (the singular Peter Lorre). Able to turn her character’s sweet demeanor into a scalding sense of vengeance in a quick turn, Fitzgerald’s work here sears itself into the viewer’s brain. She proves herself to be as memorable a figure as both Greenstreet and Lorre, two of cinema’s most recognizable characters, with her flirtatiously venomous ways, taking focus as the ringleader of a financial caper that proves to be the downfall of all involved.Geraldine Three Strangers

A year before her committed performance in Three Strangers, she probed even more controversial depths as George Sander’s controlling sister in The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry. As Lettie Quincey, a desperate spinster with a pathological devotion to her brother, Fitzgerald fearlessly dives into the incestuous overtures of her role, never backing down from the intensity of her character’s emotions. Calmly and convincingly destroying the late blooming romance of Sanders’ Harry, Fitzgerald’s deadly sense of the saccharine works an evil magic, pulling cinema lovers into her toxic web with joyous abandon.

Geraldine Strange Affair poster


Horror Hall of Fame:

While both these works, directed by such supreme stylists as Robert Siodmak and Jean Negulesco, feature haunting visuals and elements that contain both the supernatural and the fantastical, Fitzgerald fully submerged herself into the horror genre with appearances in 1982’s Blood Link and 1986’s Poltergeist II: The Other Side. Geraldine Poltergeist


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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Joni James

Published March 15, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Joni Main 2

Possessing one of the clearest voices and sprightliest deliveries, singer Joni James has a special place in the sonic registries of many a confirmed music lover. When you meet a fan of hers, you are generally meeting someone who has a sophisticated, incredibly knowledgeable taste in those who record popular songs.

Proving her versatility, many a horror movie victim, particularly those in both versions of My Bloody Valentine, could certainly relate to one of her most popular songs, There Goes My Heart…and my left leg….and my arms…and my head….

Meanwhile, her site http://jonijames.com/ has information on how to join her fan club and other pertinent facts about her long standing, critically acclaimed career.

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Joni 1

Unsung Heroines of Horror: June Havoc and Evelyn Keyes

Published March 12, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

June and Evelyn A Return

Two years before infamously giving Bette Davis her last role in the horror comedy Wicked Stepmother, esteemed cult director Larry Cohen cast two other veteran beauties in 1987’s A Return to Salem’s Lot, his sequel to the Stephen King vampire story.

Here, Cohen gave June Havoc and Evelyn Keyes meaty roles as the matriarchs of a town filled with the blood sucking undead. Keyes, known for playing Vivian Leigh’s sister in Gone With the Wind and a series of femme fatales in noir flicks, was cast as the judge’s wife, lending not only her show business prestige to the proceedings, but a regal sense of bearing, as well.

Havoc, a Broadway legend and a vivacious presence in a series of Golden Age musicals and the acclaimed drama Gentleman’s Agreement, was cast as the former caretaker of the film’s lead, played by quirky Cohen regular Michael Moriarty. Tenderly trying to reconnect with the horrified Moriarty, Havoc is definitely given the more significant role here.

But both she and Keyes dive into the lurid circumstances at hand with glee. Tearing into their characters’ victims with malevolence, they also somehow keep their dignity intact. In fact, one of the funniest moments occurs as Havoc’s prim Aunt Clara takes time to adjust her lipstick after a particularly aggressive feeding.

June solo Return

Meanwhile, the film itself, containing dollops of Cohen’s odd sense of humor and strange plot structuring, was not well received by fans upon its release. But lovers of old school Hollywood should be charmed not only by the presence of Havoc and Keyes, but by maverick filmmaker Samuel Fuller (Shock Corridor, White Dog) who puts in a rascally appearance as a vampire hunter. Interestingly, singer-songwriter and A Nightmare on Elm Street star Ronee Blakley also turns in one of her last screen roles (as Moriarty’s ex-wife) while future terror regular and eternal media catastrophe Tara Reid commits to one of her first.

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June and Michael A Return